Why Do You Run?

The other day I was having a Google chat conversation with a friend. As we talked about our latest 5K times, newest trainings plans, and upcoming race plans, he commented “I really don’t like running.”

I ruminated on this comment for hours. Why would someone spend hours upon hours doing an activity they didn’t even like?  Sure running can provide you with cardiovascular endurance, leaner legs, and a smaller waistline — but is that enough?

The I began to ponder why I run, why I battle rain, extreme heat, and humidity all to log a few miles. And the answer became clearer and clearer, I run because I truly love to run.

Growing up, I was …um… awkward.  At only 5’0 feet tall and 75 pounds in the 8th grade, I was small, but I had arms and legs that were bigger than the rest of my body.

Those gangly limbs often contributed to me falling..a lot..and usually in very public situations. (I once stumbled down the steps at an awards assembly, wearing a dress, the entire school got a peek at my panties…oh fun!)  Needless to say, I was always the last one picked for any sports team and I spent most of my adolescent feeling like a klutz.

Then I went off to college and grew 5 inches in 4 months – I suddenly felt as though I fit in my body. But I still felt ungraceful and hopelessly unathletic.  Over the next four years, I would dabble with running – starting and stopping training plans hundreds of times. I would tell myself “It’s too hard. I am no good at it. Running is for athletes…I am no athlete”

Then in 2008, I got dumped, moved home, and met my now husband. Riding the highs of love, and wanting to look sexy for my new boyfriend, I began running again. And this time, I fell in love….hard.  I can remember the exact spring afternoon, as I ran on the treadmill, listening to Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (ironic), I felt strong. I finally felt like an athlete.

My love for running has never wavered from that moment to now. Yes, I have been sidelined my injuries, pushed runs aside for other physical pursuits. In the end, I always come back.

I lace up my sneaks, push play on my favorite run list, and just go.  And with each step, I live those feelings of inadequacy and awkwardness further behind. 

When I run, I don’t see the cellulite that adorns my thighs – rather I see the firm muscle beneath giving me power to press forward. 

When I run, I don’t think about to-do lists, project deadlines, or responsiblity. Sometimes I dream and sometimes I don’t think at all.

When I run, I find myself calming  as I appreciate the beauty of the world around me. Beauty, that all to often I fail to see as I rush thru my day.

In the simplest sense, I run because I am a runner and runners run.  Running has become as much a part of who I am, as my freckles, my curly hair or the scar on my right knee.  My Daddy always told me “Do what you love!”  And I follow his advice each time I run.

Are you runner? If so, why do you run? If you are not a runner, why not?  What is your favorite way to exercise? Why?

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